The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been awarded full accreditation by the prestigious European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), it was announced this week.
This means that the UCT GSB now has a five-year European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation - EQUIS is the leading international system of quality assessment, improvement, and accreditation of higher education institutions in management and business administration.
EQUIS is the EFMD's accreditation body, and the UCT GSB has since 2001 held two successive three-year accreditations.
According to Professor Colin Firer, Academic Director at the UCT GSB, the five-year accreditation is a significant milestone.
"The five-year term is the longest period of EQUIS accreditation offered by EFMD and demonstrates that the body has confidence in the UCT GSB. It gives students and employers the assurance that the business school is among the best in the world and that its qualifications are of the highest international standards,' he said.
Firer added that the accreditation process is demanding and rigorous. The School had to prepare an extensive self-assessment report analysing every aspect of its operations and undergo a four-day peer review this year.
"The business school had to submit a detailed report that covered ten areas of operation and this was followed by a visit by an international team of highly respected senior business school leaders, which involved the presentation of documentary evidence by the UCT GSB and in-depth interviews with its board, heads of departments, junior staff, alumni and students,' said Firer.
The EQUIS assessment of the UCT GSB shows that the visiting team was impressed in several areas, highlighting that the School may be considered a benchmark amongst EQUIS schools in these.
This included the culture and values of the UCT GSB; the School?s selection process which EQUIS said is designed with great professionalism and attention to detail; the programme administration which was regarded as outstanding with qualified and highly client-oriented staff; the focus at the School on personal development which made it highly attentive to the needs of students; the strong attention to project based work; the School?s contribution to the community; and the overall customer orientation of the School.
Professor Frank Horwitz, Director of the UCT GSB, said that the EQUIS accreditation was thanks to an excellent team effort involving all departments at the GSB, senior UCT executives, corporate clients, the advisory board and student representatives and alumni.
EQUIS as a recognition of quality, he said, has important implications for all customers of the business school.
"Prospective students and companies want to know that the business school they select has international recognition. In addition, accreditation is valuable in building international ties with other leading business school?s and will stand the UCT GSB in good stead in its efforts to develop new research partnerships, as well as student and faculty exchanges,' he said.
Horwitz added that the re-accreditation process is also valuable as an opportunity for the business school to take stock of its progress.
"It provides insight into the degree of change and innovation that has taken place and creates a focus and direction for further strategic integration and external positioning of the GSB as well as for building our academic capacity to play a stronger educational and research role in emergent markets,' he said.
Business schools that achieve an accreditation from EQUIS, do so for a period of three to five years, after which they need to undergo an intensive re-assessment process.
EFMD is Europe's largest network association in the field of management development. Its fundamental objective is to raise the standard of management education worldwide. EQUIS facilitates standard setting, benchmarking, mutual learning and the dissemination across borders of good practice.
The UCT GSB is one of only two business schools in South Africa to receive accreditation.